You may already know it costs 6 – 7 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an old one,1 but do you know exactly how to keep those customers coming back? Below are some customer retention secrets you can put to work right away.
1. Surprise them with extras. Nothing turns a satisfied customer into a full-on brand advocate quite like exceeding their expectations. Did they purchase a product from your website? Offer free shipping. Then throw a “10% off your next purchase” coupon into the box before you mail it. Did your customer buy something big and bulky at your storefront? Help them walk it to the car, or tell them you’ll waive the home delivery fee, just for them. Provide free gift wrapping during the holidays. Any way you can go the extra mile for your customers will pay off in spades.
2. Reward them for loyalty. A loyalty program can be as simple as giving customers punch cards. Every time they make a transaction with you, they can have their card punched and earn a small freebie after a certain number of transactions. The promise of the reward encourages them to come back more often.
3. Be willing to bend your rules. Different customers have different needs, and if you’re willing to negotiate prices or services to suit the customer, they will likely feel good about the personalized service you offer.
4. Show your excitement. A customer walking into your store should light up your face with a smile. Make sure all your employees are making a good impression on customers, whether in person, over the phone, or in writing online. Two-thirds of customers who desert companies do so because they’re dissatisfied with the service.2 Exceptional customer service can be your business’s salvation.
5. Make them feel special. Build relationships with your customers, both online and offline. Social media is a great resource for connecting with customers.
6. Make everything easy. And we mean everything. If a customer calls, make it easy to get in touch with a rep. (Automated phone lines are a double-edged sword. Two-thirds of customers have hung up because they couldn’t talk to a real person.1) Make your website and/or your storefront easy to navigate. Make your pricing plan easy to understand.
7. Anticipate their needs. In a similar vein as surprising them with extras, don’t wait around for customers to demand the things they need — give it to them before they’ve even realized they need it. Email them about upcoming sales or to remind them of due dates. After they buy something, follow up with a friendly phone call inquiring if everything was satisfactory.
8. Listen to them. Use a customer satisfaction survey to gauge what people like and dislike about your company. Take their suggestions seriously — you may discover some great ideas for improving your business.
9. Solve their problems. When a customer complains, you haven’t lost them yet. If you resolve that customer’s complaint, there’s a 70% chance they will do business with you again.1
10. Keep your promises. A surefire way to lose a customer is to over promise and under-deliver. Every customer counts. Do everything in your power to keep your word and keep them satisfied, even when unexpected problems come up.
1Help Scout. (n.d.). 75 customer service facts, quotes & statistics. Retrieved February 2, 2015 from https://www.helpscout.net/75-customer-service-facts-quotes-statistics/
2Beard, R. (2014, May 5). 9 customer retention strategies for companies. Retrieved February 2, 2015 from http://blog.clientheartbeat.com/customer-retention-strategies